1

I want to say something like, 'Would many women, if asked, say they feel unsatisfied with the way they are treated? They would say that they /do/.'

A friend advised me to change 'do' to 'did'. But I'm not so sure...

4

did is the past tense of do.

If you say "They would say that they do" then this is the present tense which matches "feel" in the question and implies that the dissatisfaction is ongoing.

If you say "They would say that they did" then this is the past tense which does not match and it implies that they were dissatisfied in the past, which is in conflict with "... are treated". They cannot be dissatisfied in the past with something that is happening now.

So I suggest that you are right and your friend is wrong.

However it is very common to hear did in spoken English even though it it not strictly grammatically correct.

| improve this answer | |
1

I don't think "do" is the correct word to use.

Depending on context, either "did" or "are" is a better option.

If you're asking about a general feeling, use "are".

Would women say they feel unsatisfied? They would say that they are [unsatisfied].

If context means you're asking about how they felt about a specific interaction, then you would say...

Would many women say they felt unsatisfied with the customer service? They would say that they did [feel unsatisfied].

As pointed out below, it could also be:

Would many women say they feel unsatisfied with the customer service? They would say that they do [feel unsatisfied].

Frankly, I'd reorganize the sentence entirely to avoid the clunky phrasing by taking out "feel":

If asked, would many women say they are unsatisfied with the way they are treated?

Yes, they would.

| improve this answer | |
  • You are parsing it incorrectly (or incompletely). It's They would say that they do [feel unsatisfied]. Neither version is wrong. (Personally, I find do to be more natural. I don't like are here. I acknowledge that it's grammatical, but it feels like an awkward mixing of syntactic terms.) – Jason Bassford Sep 26 '19 at 4:47
  • Yeah, I agree with what you say. I think it is just an awkwardly worded question and answer and would restructure it to avoid it entirely. – JRodge01 Sep 26 '19 at 12:21
  • @JasonBassford I edited my answer to address what you brought up. Weigh in, if you'd like. – JRodge01 Sep 26 '19 at 12:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.